Department Plant, Soil, and Agricultural Systems, Southern Illinois University, USA
*Corresponding author: S Alan Walters, Department Plant, Soil, and Agricultural Systems, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA
Submission: January 01, 2018; Published: April 09, 2018
ISSN: 2637-7659 Volume1 Issue5
Cereal grain crops provide most of the energy calories for humans worldwide, and landraces of these crops remain deeply intertwined into the traditions and cultures of many of the world’s rural communities. However, due to recent new variety development activities resulting from the “Green Revolution”, landraces are in serious jeopardy of being totally lost within the next 50 years. The reduced use of landraces can be traced back to the beginnings of the “Green Revolution”, when there was a substantial worldwide increase in the use of new modern cereal crop varieties that provided increased productivity compared to the varieties that were currently in use that had limited genetic improvements.
This movement directly contributed to the depletion of genetic diversity in all crops, although landraces are still used in certain areas for some crops including the major cereal staple food crops. The five most important cereal staple foods in the world (in descending order) are maize (Zea mays), rice (Oryza sativa), wheat (Triticumaestivum), barley (Hordeumvulgare) and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). A brief overview is presented regarding the problems and issues related to the loss of landraces for these staple food crops.
Keywords: Cereals; Crop genetic diversity; Crop population; Staple food crop; Traditional variety